…by yours truly, that is.
I deleted the swear words. Most of them, anyway. The ones I considered to be the more egregious. Searched all posts for the offending matter and edited them. Sometimes I simply deleted the swear words and left it at that, but more often I had to replace them with something else to retain the meaning.
There were a lot of swear words. I’ve been swearing on this blog for nearly three years. I’d tell you my favorite swear words but that would defeat the point okay you twisted my arm. The f-word and the s-word. In all of their forms. Verb, adjective, noun, adverb, you name it.
In editing my posts, I took the opportunity to find out if some of my punchier posts would still pack a punch without the swear words. To my surprise, censoring myself not only didn’t hurt the prose, it improved it. Turns out the fuddy-duddies were right: swearing really does take away from the power of your message.
The initial reason I did this, however, was because I was becoming increasingly ashamed at the swear words on this blog. They’re just sitting out there for all the world to see. What if one of my more straight-laced pastors reads it? Or my step-mother? Or a young student?
Swear words really do harm some people. Some more than others, sure. But all people feel the punch of a swear word in the heart; otherwise we wouldn’t use the swear words in the first place. We like them because they are a verbal sort of roughhousing, like two young rams knocking heads on the cliffs. But I must admit that even I have taken umbrage at someone’s idle use of swear words from time to time. It’s not a matter of whether the swear words are said in anger or as part of an attack on me; even just the very sound of a swear word can rattle me, especially when it’s repeated over and over. It’s rare, but sometimes I just don’t want to hear you cursing up and down the street.
I’m a Christian. We’re not really supposed to use swear words. Some Biblical support for that claim can be found at the bottom of this post. But to play devil’s advocate for a minute, I must point out that although many Christians seem to be very certain about swearing being a sin (not just unseemly, not just un-Christian, but a sin), the Bible verses these people point to for proof aren’t as clear-cut as they seem to think they are. The Bible says not to use language to cut people down; fine, but you can do that without swear words. It says not to lie about people; you can do that without swear words. It says not to take the Lord’s name in vain; okay, that seems pretty clear.
Other than that, there’s just a bunch of vague rhetoric about generally using “wholesome” talk and not swearing in a “joking” way and whatnot. Here, wholesome could mean moral, as in don’t lie, slander, or insult. And joking might very well mean mocking, which would fall under the cutting-your-brother-down category. But once again, you can do those things without swear words, so just maybe the Bible isn’t talking about idle swearing.
Granted, the Bible isn’t going to list every single word you can and cannot say, like some Seven Dirty Words You Can’t Say on Television, partly because the ancient Hebrews of course had different swear words. Most of the time, swearing is used in an idle way — a way that harms no one directly, save for the “harsh sound” of the words themselves.
In fact, it’s merely that harsh sound I was looking to censor. It’s not that I’m trying to do a take-back for some insult I attached an eff-bomb to and lobbed in someone’s direction. Besides, I’ve insulted plenty of people without so much as uttering a phooey, dadgummit, Jimminy Crickets. My tongue can sin just fine without the aid of the Urban Dictionary. I just want to avoid grinding someone’s face off with the sound of my language. That’s all.
So with that in mind, I didn’t remove all of the swear words — just the most egregious ones. I kept words like “ass” (hoping the reader will think about a donkey and not a rear end, and never adding that second syllable); “damn,” (as a meaningless adjective, not the verb “to damn”); and “hell” (never used as a curse on someone.) So for those of my readers who enjoy a salty blog post, rejoice! For the salt has not lost all of its taste.
And finally, for what it’s worth, here are those links I promised you pertaining to what the Bible says about swearing. They all have similar titles but emphasize different forms of swearing: